As Peter Worsely says, “A large part of our social and technical skills are acquired through deliberate instruction which we call education. It is the main working activity of children from the ages of five to fifteen and often beyond…” A large part of the budget of many developed and developing countries is set apart for education. Education employs a large army of people. Sociologists are becoming more and more aware of the importance and role of educational institutions in the modern industrialised societies. In recent years education has become the major interest of some I sociologists. As a result a new branch of sociology called sociology of education has become established. Durkheim conceives of education as “the socialization of the younger generation.” He further states that it is “a continuous effort to impose on the child ways of seeing, feeling and acting which he could not have arrived at spontaneously.”
Summer defined education as “the attempt to transmit the child the modes of the group. So that he can learn what conduct is approved and what disapproved how he ought to behave in all kinds of cases: What he ought to believe and reject.” F.J. Brown and J.S. Roucek say that education is “the sum total of the experience which moulds the attitudes and determines the conduct of both the child and the adult.” James Welton in Encyclopaedia Britannica (11th Edition) writes that education consist in an attempt on the part of the adult members of human society to shape the development of the coming generation with its own ideals of life. A.W.Green, “Historically it has meant the conscious training of the young for the later adoption of adult roles. By modern convention, however, education has come to mean formal training by specialists within the formal organisation of the school. Samuel Koening says “Education may also be defined as the process whereby the social heritage of the group is passed on from one generation to another as well as the process whereby the child becomes socialised, learns the rules of behaviour of the group into which he is born.”
Education stands for deliberate instruction or training. Man does not behave in society impulsively or instinctively. He behaves in a way according to which he is trained. Some thinkers have equated it with socialization. A few other regard education as an attempt to transmit the cultural norms of the group to its younger members. It is also understood more knowledge. All these three interpretations of education as a process or a continuous entity the word process stressed continuity. Firstly, education, viewed as socialisation, is continuous. Socialisation is social learning. This social learning is not intermittent but continuous. Perfection in social learning is rarely achieved the more we try to learn our own society and fellow beings the more remains to be learned. Social learning begins at birth and ends only at death. It continues through out our life.
There is no point or state in our life at which we have learn everything about one group or society and beyond that nothing remains to be studied. We belong to different groups at different stages of our life. As these groups change we must learn new rules and new patterns of behaviour. Furthermore we do not always remain within the same role. We being as children, pass through adolescence into adulthood, marry, become parents, enter middle age, retire, grow old and finally die. With each role comes pattern of behaviour that we must learn and thus through out our life, we are involved in the socialisation process. Secondly, education viewed as an agent of cultural transmission is also continuous.
Culture is growing while there can be break in the continuity of culture. If at all there is a break it only indicates the end of a particular human- group. The cultural element are passed on from generation act as the agents of cultural transmission. Education in its formal or informal, pattern, has been performing this role since time immemorial. Education can be looked upon as process from this point of view also. Thirdly, education implies as an attempt to acquire knowledge, is also continuous. Knowledge is like an ocean, boundless, limitless.
No one has mastered it or exhausted it. No one can claim to do so. There is a limit to the human genius or the human grasp of the things. The moral man can hardly know anything and everything about nature which is immoral. The universe is a miraculous entity. The more one tries to know of it, the more it becomes mysterious. Not any the natural universe but also the social universe is complex. The human experiences limited to have a thorough knowledge of acquiring more and more knowledge about the universe with all its complexity. Education thus is a continuous endeavour, a process.